Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes

Grief in Healthcare Chaplains: An Investigation of the Presence of Disenfranchised Grief

Grief in Healthcare Chaplains: An Investigation of the Presence of Disenfranchised Grief

We examined how chaplains respond to grief and determined the prevalence of disenfranchised grief (i.e., grief that is not or cannot be acknowledged or supported by society) in healthcare chaplains. We conducted an online survey of members of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Of 3131 potential participants, 577 (18%) responded to the survey. In response to grief in the workplace, chaplains stated they would have low energy (78%), feel sad or moody (63%), feel like they had no time for themselves (44%), go through the motions (41%), and distance themselves from others (31%). As an indicator of disenfranchised grief, 21% of chaplains felt that their grief was not supported and affirmed in the workplace and 63% listed circumstances of death about which they felt very uncomfortable hearing or talking about. The results suggest that grief, and disenfranchised grief in particular, may be an important concern to address in healthcare chaplaincy.

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